Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Gender differences in subjective task values in mathematics and their relations to course-taking intentions Public Deposited

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  • There has long been discussion on whether or not there are gender differences in different academic areas, particularly mathematics. One fact that most researchers agree on is that fewer females than males take upper-level mathematics courses beginning in adolescence and continuing through college. As a result, many females severely restrict their career options by failing to take courses in this area. This study views the subjective task values in mathematics of 201 3rd and 5th grade students in a small community in the upper plains region of the United States, and how those subjective task values relate to students' indications of interest in taking advanced mathematics courses in the future. While it was believed that gender differences would be found at each grade level as well as overall, this was not the case. Small differences were found by gender, but not to a degree of statistical significance. The major findings of the current research were of vast differences between the grade levels themselves. Third grade students had much higher scores on the Eccles-Wigfield Task Value Questionnaire, which was developed to measure subjective task values in mathematics. Another interesting discovery was the reasons students gave for these subjective task values. In general, boys tended to blame factors outside of their control, while girls were more likely to blame themselves. Post-hoc factor analysis of the survey questions indicated groupings consistent with those previously identified by the survey's authors.
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